A group of activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir fired at police, blasted crude bombs and vandalised at least 50 vehicles in Dhaka Tuesday afternoon.
Two policemen were injured in the shootout. Locals beat up two alleged Shibir men and handed them over to police.
The Jamaat men came out in a group of about 50-60 people from a lane adjacent to the CA Bhaban in Kawran Bazar area around 1:30pm, said witnesses. “They began vandalising vehicles and headed for Panthapath,” recounted one of them.
The Kawran Bazar road leads to Shahbagh – about two kilometres apart. Mass protests continue for the eighth day at the Shahbagh intersection Tuesday.
Soon after, another group of the Jamaat-Shibir men emerged and indulged in vandalism in the area.
“They vandalised vehicles and blasted bombs,” said Tejgaon zone Deputy Commissioner of Police Manjurul Kabir.
Police also fired back in self-defence, he added, “but two policemen were hurt.”
The area turned into a battlefield when police tried to stop them, police constable Mohammad Rassel, on duty in the area at that time, told bdnews24.com. “Police fired shots to disperse them.”
At least 25 people were injured at Panthapath, reported bdnews24.com Chief Crime Correspondent Liton Haider, who was present on the scene, citing locals.
Five were admitted to hospital with bullet wounds, he reported. Among them, two, including a woman, were hit with bullets from shotgun. The other three working in makeshift tea stalls adjacent to Bashundhara City shopping complex were hit by rubber bullets.
Bangla daily Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman also received injuries while passing through the area in a car, said a witness.
Professor Anisuzzaman was also with Rahman in the car, said a journalist of the house later.
The Jamaat men blasted crude bombs while fleeing, said witnesses.
Locals beat up and handed over two Shibir men to police, according to the Kalabagan Police Station officials.
Up to 20 blasts were reported from Motijheel Shapla Chattar area that led to panic in the locality.
Police were looking into the incident, said Motijheel Police Station Officer in-Charge Hayatuzzaman.
Awami League supporters rallied in the area after the blasts.
Meanwhile, some Jamaat-e-Islami supporters torched a microbus in front of daily Naya Diganta office and press at Motijheel soon after the trouble in Karwan Bazar. The daily is owned by Jamaat leader Mir Quashem Ali.
Some papers of the press also caught fire, but were soon doused by employees, said witnesses.
Owner of a nearby shop, Manik told bdnews24.com that he suddenly saw the microbus in flames, though nobody was seen around.
The Naya Diganta owners blamed pro-government Bangladesh Chhatra League for the arson.
Motijheel zone Additional Police Deputy Commissioner Mehedi Hassan did not blame anyone for the incident.
later, about 50 Jamaat-Shibir men were taken into custody from Motijheel area over their alleged involvement in the blasts and anarchy.